Ask any finance or operations professional in almost any midsize or large business if they have an ERP solution, and the answer will be yes. But when you ask those same people what they mean by ERP, you’ll get many different answers. That’s because ERP is one of those business terms that has a varying definition according to the unique needs of each business.
As much as many of us would like to think that ERP is clearly defined, it isn’t. It would be a simpler world for finance, IT, consultants, analysts, software vendors and others if ERP always meant the same thing to every business. In fact, implementing an ERP solution as a one-size-fits-all solution often ends up creating more complexity down the road.
Companies see enterprise resource planning as whatever solutions are critical to running the business. That typically includes core finance functions, but it can also include other areas such as procurement, projects and risk management; or it can extend into operational areas across the supply chain and even into human resources. In short, ERP is however it’s defined by any given business.
Many companies have achieved their unique definitions of ERP using a collection of older, on-premise legacy systems and newer narrow-focused cloud solutions; these are integrated together in places and stand-alone in others. This patchwork approach often results in challenges, delays, manual tasks, and a lack of insight into areas across the enterprise. Outdated customizations in on-premise systems are often out-of-sync with current processes, causing workarounds. The net result is ERP that is functional, but it slows down the business.
Modern ERP is based on the unique needs of the business while helping the company increase speed, not slow it down. The business functions that define ERP are brought together in a modular fashion, on a common platform with a common data model. Whether ERP for your company is only core finance or a combination of finance, HR and supply chain, your business can have your own unique, yet modern, ERP solution.
With one uniquely-tailored cloud ERP, reporting and analysis can be done across teams and departments, providing holistic, real-time insight across the business. And, new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can be leveraged to automate manual tasks and speed up processes. All of this means your ERP solution will help your business respond faster to market and industry changes.
The definition of ERP will always vary from company to company, but the unique ERP needs of each company no longer need to slow down the business. Today, companies can have endless variations of ERP, but they can define them on one cloud solution that speeds up the business and sparks innovation.